Baystreet Holiday Pier Dance

by Liza Mitchell
‘Tis the season to lend a helping hand and the local band, BayStreet, is doing its part to promote the spirit of giving. For the 13th year, BayStreet will host the annual holiday Pier Dance to benefit the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry.
B.E.A.M. is a not-for-profit organization in Jacksonville Beach that helps families in temporary financial crisis with basic needs such as food, utility and rental assistance.
The event is held Tuesday, December 13 at the historic Casa Marina Hotel in Jacksonville Beach. Admission is at least one new, unwrapped toy and a non-perishable food donation. Seating begins at 6 p.m. with BayStreet taking the stage at 7 p.m.
Sure, it’s not exactly held at the pier but it used to be, back when the old 6th Avenue North pier was still standing. BayStreet frontman and one of the founding members, John Miller, said the band wasn’t expecting to host a yearly benefit when they hosted the first dance at the pier. But people came back every year, anxious to help children and needy families at Christmas.
“It was originally created to give the Beaches community a chance to give back to others,” Miller said. “It’s evolved into a family event and that is kind of neat.”
In 1999, Miller and BayStreet planned to host a benefit for B.E.A.M at the pier. Hurricane Floyd had other plans and sheared about 80 feet from the old wooden structure, threatening to cancel the event. Miller turned his attention to helping reconstruct the pier but the owners wouldn’t hear of it and the event continued on with the focus on the families.
Also part of the tradition is an appearance by students at Atlantic Beach Elementary School. The kids in Laurie Stucki’s fourth grade class will perform the BayStreet songs “Peace” and “Gleam” with the band.
“This is the one thing the band truly looks forward to every year,” Miller said. “It’s a great thing to keep the tradition alive.”
The Casa Marina is located at 691 1st Street North in Jacksonville Beach. For reservations call 270-0025. Seating and menu is limited. A special children’s menu will be available.
To donate to B.E.A.M., volunteer or adopt a family for the holidays, call 241-7437.